SiSU(8) a document publishing system

Other Alias

Structured information, Serialized Units


sisu [-mhwpxXv...] [ filename/wildcard ]


A document publishing system, that from a simple single marked-up document, produces a multitude of output formats including: html, latex, pdf, info, and sql output, which can be cross referenced as having the same document structure and text object numbering, "object citation numbering". Features include its' simple syntax; the semantic tagging of documents; document management; built to be associated with a revision control system; text object numbering for the identification of a texts location in any of the output formats, easy skinning on a site wide, or per document basis; granular search; a degree of future proofing ... for more see man 1 sisu or <>

SiSU is a way of preparing, publishing, managing and searching documents.


Up to date information on SiSU downloads, and their installation should be available from: <> or at: <>

There you should find links to the latest source tarball, and instructions on how to install SiSU.

Sample marked up documents are are available at /usr/share/doc/sisu/sisu_markup_samples/dfsg or equivalent directory, or online, see <>

man 1 sisu has a syntax table along with processing commands.

SiSU also provides some help via the command: sisu --help and selecting an appropriate subject, e.g.

sisu --help commands

sisu --help markup

sisu --help headers

sisu --help env

The rest of this note is on post installation setup

Post Installation Setup - Quick start

After installation of sisu-complete, move to the document samples directory,

  cd /usr/share/doc/sisu/sisu_markup_samples/dfsg

[this is not where you would normally work but provides sample documents for testing, you may prefer instead to copy the contents of that directory to a local directory before proceeding]

and in that directory, initialise the output directory with the command

sisu -CC

then run:

sisu -1 free_as_in_freedom.rms_and_free_software.sam_williams.sst

or the same:

sisu -NhwpoabxXyv free_as_in_freedom.rms_and_free_software.sam_williams.sst

look at output results, see the "sisu_manifest" page created for the document

for an overview of your current sisu setup, type:

sisu --help env


sisu -V

To generate a document from a remote url accessible location move to a writable directory, (create a work directory and cd into it) as the file will be downloaded there and e.g.

sisu -1

sisu -3

examine source document, vim has syntax highlighting support

gvim free_as_in_freedom.rms_and_free_software.sam_williams.sst

additional markup samples in <>

it should also be possible to run sisu against sisupods (prepared zip files, created by running the command sisu -S [filename]), whether stored locally or remotely.

sisu -3

there is a security issue associated with the running of document skins that are not your own, so these are turned of by default, and the use of the following command, which switches on the associated skin is not recommended:

sisu -3 --trust

For help man sisu

sisu --help

sisu --help env for the way sisu "sees/maps" your system

sisu --help commands for list of commands and so on

Document markup directory

Perhaps the easiest way to begin is to create a directory for sisu marked up documents within your home directory, and copy the file structure (and document samples) provided in the document sample directory: mkdir ~/sisu_test

cd ~/sisu_test

cp -a /usr/share/doc/sisu/sisu_markup_samples/dfsg/* ~/sisu_test/.


Tip: the markup syntax examples may be of interest <>

Tip: sisu -U [sisu markup filename] should printout the different possible outputs and where sisu would place them.

Tip: if you want to toggle ansi color add c to your flags.


SiSU configuration file search path is:





It is best you see <> for up the most up to date information.

notes taken from the Debian control file (end edited), gives an idea of additional packages that SiSU can make use of if available, (the use/requirement of some of which are interdependent for specific actions by SiSU):

Package: sisu

Depends: ruby (>= 1.8.2), libwebrick-ruby, unzip, zip

Conflicts: vim-sisu, sisu-vim, sisu-remote

Replaces: vim-sisu, sisu-vim

Recommends: sisu-pdf, sisu-sqlite, sisu-postgresql, librmagick-ruby, trang, tidy, librexml-ruby, openssl, rsync, openssh-client lsh-client, keychain, hyperestraier, kdissert Suggests: rcs cvs, lv, texinfo, pinfo

Package: sisu-complete

Depends: ruby (>= 1.8.2), sisu, sisu-pdf, sisu-postgresql, sisu-sqlite

Recommends: hyperestraier

Package: sisu-pdf

Depends: sisu, texlive-latex-base, texlive-fonts-recommended, texlive-latex-recommended, texlive-latex-extra

Suggests: evince, xpdf

Package: sisu-postgresql

Depends: sisu, libdbd-pg-ruby, libdbi-ruby, libdbm-ruby, postgresql

Recommends: libfcgi-ruby

Package: sisu-sqlite

Depends: sisu, sqlite, libdbd-sqlite-ruby, libdbi-ruby, libdbm-ruby

Recommends: libfcgi-ruby

Package: sisu-markup-samples

Depends: sisu

Package Description


Description: documents - structuring, publishing in multiple formats and search

SiSU is a lightweight markup based, command line oriented, document structuring, publishing and search framework for document collections.

With minimal preparation of a plain-text, (UTF-8) file, using its native markup syntax in your text editor of choice, SiSU can generate various document formats (most of which share a common object numbering system for locating content), including plain text, HTML, XHTML, XML, OpenDocument text (ODF:ODT), LaTeX, PDF files, and populate an SQL database with objects (roughly paragraph-sized chunks) so searches may be performed and matches returned with that degree of granularity: your search criteria is met by these documents and at these locations within each document. Object numbering is particularly suitable for "published" works (finalized texts as opposed to works that are frequently changed or updated) for which it provides a fixed means of reference of content. Document outputs also share semantic meta-data provided.

SiSU also provides concordance files, document content certificates and manifests of generated output.

A vim syntax highlighting file and an ftplugin with folds for sisu markup is provided, as are syntax highlighting files for kate, kwrite, gedit and diakonos. Vim 7 includes syntax highlighting for SiSU.

man pages, and interactive help are provided.

Dependencies for various features are taken care of in sisu related packages. The package sisu-complete installs the whole of SiSU.

Additional document markup samples are provided in the package sisu-markup-samples which is found in the non-free archive the licenses for the substantive content of the marked up documents provided is that provided by the author or original publisher.

Homepage: <>


sisu resource configuration information is obtained from sources (where they exist):
/etc/sisu/[sisu version]/sisurc.yaml
sisu program defaults


default document appearance may be modified using skins contained in sub-directories located at the following paths:


more specifically, the following locations (or their /etc/sisu equivalent) should be used:

~/.sisu/skin/doc skins for individual documents;

~/.sisu/skin/dir skins for directories of matching names;

~/.sisu/skin/site site-wide skin modifying the site-wide appearance of documents.

Usually all skin files are placed in the document skin directory: ~/.sisu/skin/doc with softlinks being made to the skins contained there from other skin directories as required.


For more information on SiSU see: <>

or man sisu


Ralph Amissah <[email protected]> or <[email protected]>